The week begins with housing information, turns to whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates and concludes with gross domestic product.


The state of the housing market remains unclear, but all signs point to a continuing slow-down. One more data point for the debate is released today in the form of new home sales. After a small increase in April to 1.2m from 1.14m, analysts predict the number to fall slightly.

US housing starts remain robust.


Existing home sales come out today, and the numbers are expected to show a decline. April’s figures were down 2 per cent to an annual pace of 6.76m.

Consumer confidence, following a strong rally in April, is also expected to show a decline. After slumping in May, June’s measure of consumer sentiment will continue on the downward path.


The final revision to January’s gross domestic product is released today. The original annualized gain was listed at 4.8 per cent. This was subsequently revised upward to 5.3 per cent. The last revision is also expected to be upward, although not as big as the previous one. The revisions have been attributed to smaller than expected trade deficit.

After all the speculation, the Federal Reserve will finally hold its two-day meeting and decide whether or not to raise interest rates. Most analysts expect the body to raise interest rates to 5.25 per cent, from 5 per cent.

A small, but growing, number of economists have begun predicting the interest rate will rise to 6 per cent before the end of the year.

Economists forecast further US rate rises.

Washington is also set to remove Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

And, again on Thursday, President George W. Bush meets Junichiro Koizumi, the Japanese prime minister in Wasington. Discussions are set to focus on “the war on terror, defending freedom and democracy, promoting regional security and prosperity in Asia and enhancing closer co-operation on global economic issues”.


Robert Zoellick steps down from his role as US deputy secretary to take up a role at Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs. The long-awaited departure came after Mr Zoellick spent six years in the Bush administration and missed out on the post of treasury secretary.

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